When someone murders a notorious “tiger mother,” an intrepid detective with a secret must investigate the plethora of suspects in Daly’s (The Mistake I Made, 2015, etc.) domestic mystery.
Karen Bloom is proud of the fact that she pushes her daughter, Brontë, to excel in all aspects of life. So what if Brontë’s demanding schedule rarely leaves time for family dinner and has even led to her developing numbness in her hands? Karen can’t help but compare her perfect 10-year-old daughter to her teenage stepdaughter, Verity, who was recently discovered in possession of drugs and now must attend counseling sessions. Or to her older son, Ewan, who spends most of his time smoking pot. She even uses Brontë to distract herself from her disappointing husband, Noel. When Brontë goes missing one afternoon, Karen is hysterical. She's rude to the detective in charge of the case, DS Joanne Aspinall, and even makes an offensive comment to the press about how her missing child is different from “those impoverished families” who are known to murder their own. Although Brontë returns unhurt and refuses to admit where she was, there is incredible public backlash against Karen’s comments, so when she is found murdered several weeks later, the list of suspects is long. Distracted by a past encounter with and ongoing attraction to Noel, Joanne must find and capture the killer as well as determine the truth of Brontë’s experience. There is not a lot of complexity to the novel or to the characters; it’s pretty clear from the beginning that the whole family will operate much more effectively and happily without Karen. Still, there is enough of a mystery to entertain.
Fluffy enough to read in one sitting; ruthless enough to suggest that some people deserve what they get.